Medicare is a governmental program that provides medical insurance coverage for retired persons over age 65 or for others who meet certain medical conditions, such as having a disability.
Medicare was signed into legislation in 1965 as an amendment to the Social Security program and is administered by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Department of Human Services.
Medicare provides medical insurance coverage for over 43 million Americans, many of whom would have no medical insurance. While not perfect, the Medicare program offers these millions of people relatively low-cost basic insurance, but not much in the way of preventative care. For instance, Medicare does not pay for annual physical, vision care, or dental care.
Medicare is paid for through payroll tax deductions (FICA) equal to 2.9% of wages; the employee pays half and the employer pays half.
There are four "parts" to Medicare: Part A is hospital coverage, Part B is medical insurance, Part C is supplemental coverage and Part D is prescription insurance. Parts C and D are at an added cost and are not required. Neither Part A nor B pays 100% of medical costs; there is usually a premium, co-pay, and a deductible. Some low-income people quality for Medicaid, which assists in paying part of or all of the out-of-pocket costs.
Because more people are retiring and becoming eligible for Medicare at a faster rate than people are paying into the system, it has been predicted that the system will run out of money by 2018. Health care costs have risen dramatically, which adds to the financial woes of Medicare and the system has been plagued by fraud over the years.
No one seems to have a viable solution to save this system that saves many people throughout the country.